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‘Excessive salt intake to causehealth problems for Malayalis'

Staff Reporter
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Medical seminar warns about the dangers of salt addiction

HEALTH CONCERNS:A. Marthanda Pillai, former national vice-president of the IMA, addressing a conference of the IMA in Thrissur on Sunday. —Photo: K.C. Sowmish
HEALTH CONCERNS:A. Marthanda Pillai, former national vice-president of the IMA, addressing a conference of the IMA in Thrissur on Sunday. —Photo: K.C. Sowmish

Incurable addition of Malayalis to salt causes serious health problems, a medical seminar has observed. Addressing the conference on ‘Lifestyle Diseases and Health Issues of Modern Times', nephrologist P. M. Jayaraj said the Malayali's average intake of salt was between 25-30 gm a day.

“Excessive salt consumption causes high blood pressure, heart problems, stomach cancer, osteoporosis and asthma. High salt intake is dangerous for babies. Many developed counties have set a target of reducing the average salt consumption of adults to 6g per day,” he noted.

Reducing sodium had been proven to be one of the best ways of lowering high blood pressure, Dr. Jayaraj noted.

Speaking on ‘Pesticides we eat everyday – How safe we are?', T. S. Hariharan, Professor of Pharmacology, said Keralites were potential victims of pesticide pollution.

Not only endosulfan, many other pesticides in the organochlorine group such lindane (BHC), aldrin, endrin and DDT had been commonly used by farmers, he noted. No epidemiological study had been done on the extent of endosulfan pollution, he added.

Presenting a paper on ‘Mobile phone – Are you safe', ENT Surgeon T. Rammohan said electromagnetic radiations from base station antennas of mobile networks and mobile phones posed a serious health hazard.

“Continuous use of mobile phones for long hours may damage brain cells. A Swedish study showed that tumour occurs more on one side of the head where cell phone is held usually. Another study indicates possibility of salivary gland tumour for heavy mobile users,” he noted.

Increased risk of migraine, vertigo and Alzheimer's disease; behavioural problems in children in case of pre-natal exposure to mobile radiations; decreased fetal growth and developmental anomalies are the other hazards. Speaking after inaugurating the conference past national vice-president of the IMA, A. Marthanda Pillai called up on the medical forums like IMA to bring out guidelines on medical ethics.

Citing the controversy over caesarean sections in Alappuzha and the government's decision to set up a panel to draft guidelines for doctors handling birth, Dr. Pillai suggested that the government doctors' forums themselves should form such guidelines.

He noted that the medical fraternity had a moral responsibility to conduct a detailed epidemiological study on the public health issue caused by endosulfan in Kasaragod.

Other topics discussed at the seminar include ‘Diabetes – Where are we now', ‘Physical fitness –Does it matter', ‘Stress Depression and issues of modern life' and ‘Radiation hazards around us'.

The conference was organised by The IMA Academy of Medical Specialties, Kerala, in association with IMA, Thrissur.

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